This summer Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia hosted a stakeholder meeting to discuss joint priorities for long term cooperation for biodiversity protection with Una National Park in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Implementation of actions is something we are all eager to do because it gives tangible results and brings about fulfillment. However, in order to be consistent and effective these actions should be based on a long term vision. Mentioned two parks are one of Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc project cross border sites and as soon as Una National Park, designated three years ago, appointed a director a step towards official cooperation was undertaken. This is not the first time institutions from the border area in the two countries agree on collaboration for joint development but is the first time when an agreement for protection of the nature in the region is being discussed.
Amongst the senior local officials such as the mayors of Bihac and Plitvice Lakes, vice president of Lika-Senj county, chairman of the Advisory Board of Una NP, representatives from the Croatian and BiH ministries as well as the newly appointed minister of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of BiH also attended the meeting.
As Plitvice Lakes NP is a world famous World Heritage Site and receives a million tourists every year, development of sustainable tourism, not surprisingly, came out as priority for cooperation. However, the Director of the Institute for Nature Conservaiton of Croatia Mr Davorin Markovic emphasied that „tourism development can only be based the existing nature values of the region. Therefore the cooperation between the parks should first and foremnost be laid in the field of presereving biodiversity“. The same message was clearly communicated by Ms Antonija Dujmovic, a conservation manager in Plitvice Lakes NP- “Keep unspoiled your nature. Whether you receive tourist now or later does not matter so much, what matters is to keep the basis for your development unspoiled”.
As a follow-up of the meeting actions will be identified and selected ones implemented within the frame of the project.
For further information please contact Veronika Ferdinandova, IUCN SEE.